My Story with Depression

This blog post has been rolling around in my head for some time now. In light of the recent celebrity suicides, I think it’s time I write it. My own family doesn’t even know much of what I am about to say, so this is extremely hard and I am going to make myself extremely vulnerable here. I know that depression still has a stigma, and an even greater one within the church. I remember as a child hearing that suicide was an unforgivable sin because once you did it, you couldn’t ask for forgiveness. What a thought to go through a young persons head, but even at age 8, I could understand why someone would take their own life. It did scare me though that you wouldn’t go to heaven if you did kill yourself.

My childhood was probably pretty typical for someone growing up in the 70’s- early 80’s. Parents fought a lot, one drank a lot, nobody really talked about stuff like alcoholism, depression, abuse. Nowadays, there are support groups for everything if you are willing to go. It wasn’t always like that. These were the “skeletons in the closet” that you hid from the rest of the world. Then one day my mom was Born Again (the phrase that was used back then). God certainly had set a plan in motion way back before I was born. My parents both came from Catholic families. Around the time I was in kindergarten is when my mom truly found Jesus. He began a work in her that started a chain reaction in our family. She brought us kids to church and I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at age 6. Yes, that is very young for someone to grasp all that He is, but I knew I was being called to Him. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Though a child’s faith then (isn’t that what we are supposed to have anyway?), I have definitely grown into it over my many years.

I first had manic/depressive episodes in high school. I would be so full of energy and giggles and elation, it was the most wonderful feeling in the world! Then the crashes would come, an oppressive dark cloud suffocated me. I cut my wrists. Superficially. But I was crying out for help when I didn’t know how to ask. Several months of this cycle went by and I finally told my mom because it was getting worse and I didn’t know how to make the bad thoughts go away. My mental problems were hush hush in my family except with my mom. She at least had the good sense to get me help. We went to several therapist and doctors until we found someone I was comfortable with. Thank you mom, for doing this. It saved me. And thank you Georganne, you helped me know that it is ok to get help.

As a teen and college student, keeping up with therapy and medication was not what I wanted to do. The medication took away all my manic episodes and I missed them; for they so wonderfully took away all stress, pain, and worry. I didn’t want to “talk” about my feelings. That was so dumb and a waste of time for a person in the prime of their life. So, I quit it all. Then depression came back. Then I started drinking to numb myself. Then I passed out while driving. God protected me through all that. I started taking my faith more seriously again. I was still a confused young adult trying to find my way through a move across the country (running away). It was here that God finally broke me. But it was the most blessed breaking ever and I was washed clean and forgiven years worth of self loathing and destruction in one prayer. A million steps away from God, one step back. Hallelujah. The weight was lifted off and I could breathe again!

I met and married my husband, and all was well until after my first baby was born. Postpartum depression attacked my brain and I saw images in my head that no mother should see. I knew I needed to get help again. I was put on an anti-depressant right away and thank God it worked. Fast forward baby number two and we were proactive in starting a safe anti-depressant right after she was born. I was able to take myself off it after a year and I was fine. Fast forward again and depression came back with a vengeance.

It was different this time. It was mind and body numbing, an emptiness, a nothingness. I felt as though under water. Words weren’t understandable. I felt paralyzed. Medication only took the edge off. We attended a wonderful church at the time and I was able to receive biblical counseling. This was not a “let’s talk about your feelings” this was let’s dig in God’s word, and see what is real and what is not, as depression is a big fat lie. Your brain is messed up and you think your emotions are fact, but they are not! The book Depression, A Stubborn Darkness was absolutely imperative in my healing as a depressed Christian. I struggled so much with negativity. During this time my family had a job change and a move. I had to move from my friends, my church, my support. I did not want to move. It was no secret I did not like where we moved. But I was fresh off great counseling, somewhat stable emotionally, and prayed up. For 6 solid years I was clinically depressed and fought and wrestled with God. I prayed and begged for Him to take this thorn from me. His answer, “my grace is sufficient.” And that is how I lived for 6 years; resigned to live with underlying depression, bitterness, resentment. I had read books on God taking away depression and knew it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I accepted it. My medication was enough to keep me from being suicidal again, but I could not find any joy in life. I struggled to reconcile this as a Christian, who’s outward sign was supposed to be JOY. I had none. No inner smile. Just nothing.

I started to run again because I had gained weight. That story is here. It was a struggle to run. It was not easy, but I kept at it. After about a year, I realized it was changing me. Little by little I was seeing a difference. I was reading the book One Thousand Gifts and started to notice little things, like the way the sun hit the wildflowers, the way the wind moved the leaves, things like that. Directing my thoughts and finding thankfulness to God was healing me. Along with medication and running. It was the perfect trifecta! The cure! When one of these three things is neglected, I revert back to depression. It is hard to be on constant vigilance. Sometimes you just want to go on auto-pilot. With depression, I can’t. With autoimmune diseases, I can’t. Sometimes I am just TIRED. But when I ignore a key player in my mental and physical health, I am out much longer than what’s good for me, for my family.

I never ever thought that I would be free of depression – and I guess truly, I am not. But, God has changed me from a hopeless and bitter person to one of hope and joy. God was with me all along in the darkness – when I suffered insomnia and would walk alone during the middle of the night, when I drank myself into oblivion, when I cut myself, when I cried until I could cry no more, and when I smiled that first smile after seeing Him light up the sky in brilliant colors just for me! He changed me. He has made me whole. He has made me see my worth. He has made me see His infinite worth, He allowed me to see a tiny glimpse of His glory and it is a sign of what’s to come.

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

There is hope in this world and it’s Jesus. During my imprisonment of the last big bout of depression, I never thought I would be free. Like Paul singing in a jail cell, I thought that is what I would have to do. Except I wasn’t good at it. I had moments, but mostly I just complained. Sure, I prayed as Jesus did – take this cup from me, not my will, but yours… And just knew I would have to be okay with living “below the line.” (Dad, you know what I am talking about.) God really did set me free. It’s unbelievable when I really think about it. So I need to stop and think about it more and be in awe of God. Not to be bitter when He doesn’t take away pain or illness, but to trust Him in the process. He is the answer. Not that I ever want to go back into that kind of depression again, He allowed me to grow during that time, so yes, I am and can be thankful for it. For in my tears were some of the sweetest moments with God, the closest I have ever been to Him. Even though he didn’t take away the pain, he suffered right along with me. In my weakness, I was strong – in Him.

I think that is why running is so important to me. It is raw and brings you to the end of yourself. For me, it parallels the fight with depression. I can overcome, I am stronger than I thought, I will press on towards the goal, I will not grow weary in doing good, I will fight the good fight, I will run with endurance, I will run and not grow weary, I will forget what is behind and strain for what lies ahead, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will run in such a way as to win the prize, I will not be afraid, I will hope in the Lord, for I can do all things though Christ who gives me strength.

 

If you are battling depression, I highly recommend this 3 part series from Desert Springs Church. It can be found here. This was turning point for me. 

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The Wolf and the Butterfly

May is Lupus Awareness Month. I was diagnosised on August 1, 2017 with Lupus. It was a very long road and so many tests to finally get an answer to what was wrong with me that it was a welcome answer; someone confirmed that indeed, something was very wrong with me and it wasn’t all in my head and I wasn’t just lazy.

Lupus is Latin for Wolf. The first mention of lupus in history dates back to the 13th century physician Rogerius describing a rash on a face as similar to a wolf bite. Lupus can be contained to the skin in rashes and lesions, called Discoid Lupus. Lupus also is often manafested with a “Butterfly” or Malar Rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose, thus associated with a butterfly. By 1904 Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) was firmly established. SLE is a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks different parts of the body. It is unpredictable and misunderstood, often called “the great immitator.” No two cases of lupus are alike. Common symptoms include joint pain, skin rashes, debilitating fatigue, brain fog, low fevers and inflamation. Most people with lupus don’t look sick. Lupus can affect any organ or tissue, from skin, to joints, to heart or kidneys. Because the cause is unknown and there is no single blood test to diagnose more than half of the people with lupus have suffered at least four years and saw three or more doctors. There is no cure.

I have had Hashimoto’s Thyroidistis since 2009 (though I suspect I have had it much longer). This autoimmune disease attacks the thyroid. The symptoms include major fatigue, hair loss, and weight gain. Keeping my thyroid monitored and adjusting thyroid medicine as needed became part of my life. For a few years it was well controlled and I lived a very normal active life. Suddenly, in 2013, the fatigue came back with a vengance. I had extra thyroid tests done, including ultrasound on my thyroid. There were a few small nodules, but nothing significant. My labs showed my medication was the correct dose, yet I was not well. After insisting on being tested for Mono, that test came back positve for reactivated Epstein-Barr Virus. My doctor was surprised but she gave me a prescription for an anti-viral medication and sublingual B12 to see if it made any difference. It did not. She said I would have to wait it out. At this point I had started running as a stress reducer and to try to lose some weight. It was very slow going, but it was helping. I guess the EBV went away or became dormant and I was feeling much better again. I started training for a 10K, then a half marathon, and finally a marathon. I even got a BQ on my second marathon! I was doing great.

We moved to Amarillo, TX in December, 2015 and I ran my first trail half marathon in Palo Duro Canyon in May, 2016. I was smitten by trail running. I ran the Palo Duro Trail Run 50K in October, placing 3rd female overall. I quickly looked for my next 50K and chose Monument Valley 50K in March 2017. It was everything I could have wanted in a trail run (except maybe for all that sand…) I felt overly tired after this race, but attributed it to needing more recovery after my race. I also had a strange rash on my face. After a month of overwelming fatigue I knew it was time to head back to the doctor. I can’t explain this fatigue – I was sleeping well, and long hours, yet I required a nap every day. I had a very hard time focusing on anything! let alone work or the kids or my poor husband. My PCP had labs done and sent me for a sleep study. All of that was normal. I saw my endocrinologist to check on my thyroid. He did all the tests plus another ultrasound and everything looked normal. When everything comes back “normal” but you don’t feel normal, you wonder if it really is all in your head. When I initially saw him, I had a positive ANA in my lab work which indicated another autoimmune disease so he referred me to a rheumatologist. August 1, 2017 I met my current doctor, and though he gave me some bad news, I wanted to give him a hug! I started on the standard treatment, Plaquinel, which is an anti-malarial drug. When I went back in for a check up 4 months later, I was a changed person. My hands didn’t hurt anymore, I could squeeze out a sponge and wash dishes without any trouble, I could think clearer, I didn’t need a nap every single day, and I could run. Running has been such a huge part of my treatment for depression. I walk a fine line between running enough to stave off depression, but not too much as to stress my body and throw myself into a lupus flare.

Not quite a year of treatment, I have come back to running. I was able to run my 3rd 50K last month and though it was much slower than my first, I thoroughly enjoyed it and was so grateful to be running again! I still have pain but most of the time it is managable. The fatigue is still my worst symptom, and try to rest or sleep when I can.

The hardest part of lupus to me is the guilt. There are so many things I need to do or would like to do but I chose rest more often than not. Most of my decisions are based on staying home and low key whenever possible. Except for running. If I can go for a 10 mile run, why can’t I do the laundry? go to the grocery store? work full time? meet a friend? I feel selfish. My excuse – I need to run for my sanity. And honestly, the more I run (to a point), the better I feel. The slow repetative movement of running releases those wonderful endorphins, which actually do reduce the perception of pain, as well as making me feel better mentally. After a run, I do have more energy for a few hours at work or a couple of errands. But that’s it. I am depleted rapidly. I hate that my mind wants to go and do but my body says no.

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I don’t know why I have these diseases. I am human and I do despair sometimes. I feel sorry for myself. I cry in frustration and pain and fatigue. But I do know I can trust God and all of his promises are true. He never promised a pain free, illness free, trouble free life. God gave us Jesus. And with Jesus I can have it all! He came that I might have life, the abundant life as John 10:10 says. I keep going back to my faith, because with it, I have hope.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.  Romans 5:3-5

My struggles can bring me joy if I allow them to point me to God and to become more like Jesus, “who for the joy set before him, endured the cross.” (Hebrews 12:2) I relate my spiritual walk with my running life. I want to develop endurance – for it helps me to push beyond what I thought possible, in miles and in this illness. I want to develop character – maturity and strength of character, so that I am not bitter or lead a life of complaining. I need hope! Hope gives me confidence that I can finish the race and hope in the future because it will not disappoint.

For Lupus Awareness Month, Tonia Smith has made a video she gave me permission to share here:

 

I’m also linking the lyrics by Lecrae, because they really address my thoughts! Read them here.

Cedro Peak Ultra Recap

In January 2018, my plan was to run Cedro Peak 50K on April 21. My health was somewhat stable and I really wanted to get on with running and goal setting! I had a year of dealing with, treating and understanding the diagnosis of Lupus last April. I also had the emergency trip in October to Pennsylvania to be with my parents when mom had complications from heart surgery. And then I got sick, very sick in November. End already, 2017! I made my training plan, stuck it on the fridge and started January 1. A month into my training, I was feeling stronger than I had felt in a year. It was so nice to be without debilitating fatigue and pain, to think clearly and sleep well.

We had some unexpected bad news (isn’t all bad news unexpected?) mid February. It really threw our family into crisis mode and we prayed like we had never prayed before. My faith was tested. I had to decide to trust God or not. I wavered between peace that He gave me and anxiety that I gave myself. Trusting God in the unknown is what I profess, could I do it when the stakes were high? I did my best to stick to my training plan but there were days I just couldn’t run. Mentally, my mind was so overcome with sadness and fear; physically, my body was attacking itself and my pain was high. After a month we felt like we could relax a little with our situation, though it is not over. God has been so good to my family during this time. We have been so blessed by friends and family praying for us and He has grown all of our faith.

My training was sub-par for this race with only one 20 mile training run and very few back to back runs. I only averaged about 30 miles a week for all of March. I was determined to still run Cedro Peak and just give it my best.

Derreck and I drove to Tijeras on Friday, picked up my race packet, and spent the night at a friend’s house only a few miles from the start. Imagine my surprise when we woke up to snow! A quick look at the weather and I made the correct decision to wear capris instead of the skirt I had planned to wear. I knew the start would be cold, but I had anticipated it to warm up quickly. It did not!

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There were about 100 people running the 50K and about 40 marathoners that started together at 7am. It was very quiet and surreal running through the blanket of snow that covered everything. I settled into my pace and passed the first aid station about a mile in, which we would see again in about 4.5 miles on this loop. The terrain is very different from where I live so the rocks and tree roots were something I had to quickly adapt to. I checked into the aid station, grabed a slice of apple and went on my way.

The next section was very runnable and so much fun. Somewhere around 7 miles in I found myself alone and a little panic set in that I had taken a wrong turn. The course was well marked and I kept seeing the flags, but runner’s brain doesn’t always function well. I soon came to the Juan Tomas aid station. I was feeling a little winded, but very good overall. I had a little Coke and an orange slice and kept going. The next aid station I would see Derreck. That stretch seemed to take a very long time as we were slowly climbing in elevation. I slowed significantly. I finally reached Derreck, grabbed some of my banana bread and some more salt tablets. This started the BIG climb to Cedro Peak. I walked this section and got a kiss from one of the Search and Rescue dogs at the top. The views were gorgeous.

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We ran down the big hill we just climbed and the marathon separated from the 50K here. I did not study the course map much because I knew it wouldn’t matter or make much sense to me and planned to just run what I could. I completely underestimated how much the elevation would affect me. After mile 18, we climbed steadily until mile 23 topping out around 7700 feet. I pretty much walked all of miles 20-22, most of 23 and 24. I really wanted to run. My legs felt great but I could not catch my breath. Living and training at 3300 feet in elevation is not the same as over 7000 feet!

I never thought about quitting and knew I would finish so I just took in the beauty and took plenty of pictures and ate my gels and banana bread. I also drank ginger ale, ate some chips and ate a very delicious chocolate caramel sea salt truffle at the aid stations. Finally I reached the spot that I knew I would start decending down and looked forward to running again. I had my fastest mile split at mile 28 in a 9:21 and felt great about that. I ran as much as I could the rest of the race but ended up walking many of the hills because I was just plain tired by then. Knowing that 50K’s never quite match up to 31.07 miles I wondered how much farther it would be after my Garmin ticked past that point. When I hit Ponderosa aid station the last time, they said one mile left, which for me ended up being 32.47 miles. I ran what I felt like was fast for that last mile and finished 50K #3 in 7:11:52! They told me I got 3rd in my age group and I got a cool coin for 3rd place! It was a beautiful day and a wonderful race with excellent volunteers and aid stations. I would recommend this race to anyone, but I won’t be doing it again unless I can make some trips to Albuquerque for training at elevation. I feel really good about this accomplishment and am excited to start my new training plan for Palo Duro Trail Run 50 miler in October!

 

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Fun stats: Results posted on Ultra Signup show I was 56th out of 92 finishers, 12th out of 29 females and actually 2nd in my age group! Overall winner was Rob Krar in 4:07:17!

Endurance

Running takes endurance. Whether you are running a mile, a 5K, a marathon, or an ultra, you need endurance to finish. A definition I came across really speaks to me:

Endurance – the struggle to continue against a mounting effort to stop.” Alex Hutchinson

My friends and family wonder at the races I run and tell me I am just Ah-Mazing! What they don’t realize is that at times during the race I want to quit. I have self doubt, I think to myself why in the world did I sign up for this? I think there is no way I can go on. And then somehow I find a way to continue, to endure.

Combatting the negative thoughts and feelings is major part of racing. The adage running is 90% mental has much truth to it. Our body is capable of more than we think. Getting ourselves to believe that is the trick.

Feelings lie. Emotions cloud judgment. Like heavy fog, you can’t see clearly and you are incapable of logical and rational thought and action. It’s important to move past this as quickly as possible or you get stuck in the mud and with every step your feet get heavier and more weighed down. You believe what is not true and defeat yourself. This is true in a race and true in life.

One of my favorite verses tells us how to live in the truth and not our feelings.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay off every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us. Hebrews 12:1

When we let fear and doubt dictate our thinking we cannot endure. It weighs us down and tangles us up. In a race, this means not running to your potential or even quitting. In life, the consequences are more severe. Stress happens. The unexpected phone call, the devastating diagnosis, the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, things beyond our control happen. How can we endure, how can we press on?

Fight the doubts, throw off the weight of insecurity. Trust. In a race you trust your training – you put the time in, you put the effort in, you don’t let moments of doubt and fatigue dictate your outcome. In life, you trust your training as well; your discipline in prayer and reading the Bible. This is where it counts, when life is not all butterflies and pizza. Sometimes life just sucks. Keep running. It won’t always be this bad. Keep running. You don’t know what other good lies ahead. Keep running. There is a rainbow after the storm.

Moving Past Betrayal

via Daily Prompt: Betrayed

My body betrays me.

Hashimoto’s Disease, Lupus, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Celiac Disease.

Autoimmune diseases cause an abnormal immune response in which your immune system attacks healthy cells. Once you have one you are more likely to have a second, third, fourth diagnosis; your odds increase exponentially. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

There are no known cures for autoimmune diseases, which number over 80 individual types. No single test can diagnose autoimmune disease. Often their symptoms overlap. Getting a diagnosis can take years. Years of knowing something isn’t right. Years of debilitating fatigue. Years of symptoms that don’t seem related, but are. Years of strange rashes, achy joints, brain fog, hairloss, and the fatigue, the horrendous fatigue. Years of watching your abilities deteriorate without cause. Years of well meaning friends suggesting this or that because it worked for so and so. Years of money wasted on so-called miracle cures, special diets, supplements, etc. Years finding a doctor who will listen and take everything into account instead of just relying on blood tests.

Once you have your diagnosis, prescriptions, and special diets you wait and wait some more to see if any of it is helping. If it isn’t, you have more blood work and try something else. And on and on. Even when you find a combination of treatments that are working well, there will be times when it doesn’t, which is known as a Flare. (The other F word.) You must be vigilant in staying away from sick people and keeping your stress low. (HA HA!) You keep a smile on your face even when you are in pain, you show up for work when you want to be sleeping, you try to be a functional member of society until you can’t.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you. Psalm 42:1-6

Without my faith in God, I would be hopeless. He may not deliver me out of the betrayal of my body, but he walks by my side every day. When I am weak, He is strong. I can persevere because He is my strength. Yes, I complain. Yes, I am afraid. Yes, I get frustrated. Yes, I feel sorry for myself. Yes, I get depressed. But there are directions in the Bible – Put your hope in God. Remember God.

Ultimately, I do have hope. I know there will be better days ahead. I know there will be worse days also, but with God by my side, I truly can have hope. He has helped me to have more compassion for others that I did not have before. He has helped open my eyes to the small gifts of creation that I otherwise overlooked. He has brought me comfort through my church family and my friends. It may be hard to feel sometimes, but God is with me. I know I can rest in Him. I know I will be healed completely one day. What a glorious day that will be.

Put your hope in God.

 

 

Passion

Runners High? Numerous studies show that running releases mood-enhancing hormones and neurotransmitters. It’s no wonder running helps me with depression. When I don’t get to run for a few days in a row I am grumpy, easily irritated, and short tempered. Running makes me a better version of myself; I am more calm and easy going. I even have more energy. I look forward to running when I am not. I feel a twinge of jealousy when I see others out running and I am not. Don’t even mention the possibility of an injury that keep would me from running. I am always looking for races that I would like to run in the future. I am exploring longer and longer distances I never thought I would consider. Running to me equals freedom from all the garbage in my head, the negative thoughts and the worries of the day. It makes me feel like a child again, filled with wonder at the sky, the clouds, the trees, the birds.

I am very fortunate right now to have the privilege of coaching beginner runners. I tell them my passion is sharing running with anyone and everyone because I know if I can do it so can they. I share my story on how running helped me lose weight and deal with long term depression and disappointment. I’ve seen running become a viable treatment for addiction in a friend. Running also helps people with anger issues. I’ve said to friends that if the world was full of long distance runners there would be no wars! Running definitely changes lives. My favorite thing about coaching is seeing those that make running their own, those who set goals and achieve them! It fuels my passion for sharing the joy of running.

I’ve been throwing the word passion around about my running for awhile. With this being “Passion Week,” as Easter is a few days away, it got me thinking about the word Passion. I did not know the Latin origin means to suffer. We use it to mean strong emotion, to really love something, but originally it was understood to mean the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross. When I think about all that Christ endured from the Last Supper to his Resurrection there certainly are many strong emotions going on in my head. How? Why? What?!?! That Jesus suffered to save ME? Because I lie, I hate, I am envious… I am a sinner. Talk about love.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

His love is so great for us. It’s there for us. All we have to do is believe. I am passionate about running. I want to share the good it does for me, for many other people. Guess what? Jesus is even better.

 

Alter Ego

As a runner, sometimes the going gets tough. When your legs are tired and there are still miles to go, when you just want to quit and stop, you have to find a way to keep going.

There are many strategies to fight the urge to give in, to beat “the wall,” to push through the “pain cave.” People come up with mantras or quotes to inspire them, some practice visualization. Others try to use sheer will power. One technique I read about recently is to come up with an “alter ego” – to get out of your own head and become someone else; stronger, grittier, tougher. I’ve thought about this for a few days. Who would I be, who would I channel? Wonder Woman? She’s determined and incredibly powerful. Not afraid to get her hands dirty. Maybe Jyn Erso, from the Star Wars movie Rogue One. She was self reliant, cunning, and never gave up, fighting until the very end. Or what about Black Widow, from the Marvel Movies? She’s just badass.

What do I really do when the going gets tough? I fall back on what I know, what has helped me get through some of the most difficult situations I have been in. The thing I have learned to do is call on God and the scripture I have memorized. There really is power in the Word of God.

The Alter Ego I choose to channel is the Apostle Paul, who by the way uses the metaphor of running many times in the New Testament. This is what I do when my legs are tired and I feel like I can’t go on:

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1

Run in such as way as to get the prize… 1 Corinthians 9:24

I press on toward the goal… Philippians 3:14

The Apostle Paul knew how to suffer. He was taken prisoner, flogged, beaten, survived 3 shipwrecks, had been in danger of rivers and bandits, gone without sleep, suffered hunger and thirst. (2 Cor 11:16-33) And yet he never stopped believing in the Gospel. He never gave up hope, he continued his course, he had joy in it all. He had peace in it all. How? This is impossible! Yes, it is, without God. But with God, we can have peace, joy, comfort and hope in the middle of whatever we are going through.

Depression started for me around age 15. I have called it the thorn in my flesh because, like the Apostle Paul, God has chosen to not take it away. “My grace is sufficient for you.” I have fought hard with depression and almost let it beat me a few times. I have wanted to quit, to give up. Let me tell you his grace is sufficient. Running is a huge part of keeping depression away. And medication. And my faith. If one piece of this puzzle gets misplaced, I suffer. Running long, it brings you to the end of yourself. You are left raw and exposed. This is where God wants you. This is where He can reach you. When all else is stripped away, He is there, waiting with open arms. This is the place of comfort.

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. How are you going to handle disappointment, fear, unexpected anything? Whatever situation you find yourself in, seek God.

Don’t worry about anything: instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 TLB

Life is hard. But there is one who walks through the trials with us. One who loves us and who will never leave us. We only need to believe and trust him.